There is implied into a contract of employment a term that the employers will not, without reasonable and proper cause, conduct themselves in a manner calculated or likely to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of confidence and trust between the employer and employee. When considering a breach of an employment contract, the court must look at whether the breach is with respect to a fundamental term of the contract, or a fundamental breach of the contract itself. If the likely consequences of the breach will damage or destroy the relationship of trust and confidence between employer and employee, it must be something which goes to a fundamental breach of the contract, which is really fundamental in its effect on the contractual relationship. Any conduct by an employer which was likely to destroy or to damage seriously the relationship of confidence and trust between employer and employee was conduct going to the root of the contract so as to justify the employee terminating the contract on the grounds of the employer’s repudiation.
Arnold J said: ‘Now it is of course true, applying the Court of Appeal’s test, that in order to decide that the conduct is sufficiently repudiatory to justify a conclusion of constructive dismissal one has to consider whether the conduct complained of constitutes either a fundamental breach of the contract or a breach of a fundamental term of the contract: two somewhat elusive conceptions which figure in our modern contract law. But there is not much room, as we think, for that inquiry in a case in which the test, within the terms of the contractual obligation, is one which involves considering whether the consequences, or the likely consequences, are to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of confidence and trust between employer and employee; because it does seem to us that any conduct which is likely to destroy or seriously to damage that relationship must be something which goes to the root of the contract, which is really fundamental in its effect upon the contractual relationship.’
Mr Justice Arnold
 IRLR 84
Cited – Western Excavating (ECC) Ltd v Sharp CA 1978
To succeed in a claim for constructive dismissal the plaintiff must establish a breach of contract by the defendant, that the breach was sufficiently serious to have justified the claimant resigning, or at least be the last in a series of events . .
Cited – Morrow v Safeway Stores Plc EAT 21-Sep-2000
The complainant appealed a decision that she had not been constructively dismissed. She had been told off in public, causing her great distress. The tribunal had found the employer’s behaviour regrettable but not such as to break the duty of trust . .
Cited – TSB Bank Plc v L M Harris EAT 1-Dec-1999
EAT Unfair Dismissal – Reason for Dismissal
The employer appealed a finding against them. An employee, when applying for another job, discovered that the reference given revealed many complaints against her . .
Cited – Morrow v Safeway Stores Plc EAT 21-Sep-2001
The claimant appealed against dismissal of her claim of unfair constructive dismissal. She complained of having been publicly told off. The court considered whether this amounted to a breach of a fundamental term of her contract entitling her to . .
Cited – Amnesty International v Ahmed EAT 13-Aug-2009
EAT RACE DISCRIMINATION – Direct discrimination
RACE DISCRIMINATION – Indirect discrimination
RACE DISCRIMINATION – Protected by s. 41
UNFAIR DISMISSAL – Constructive dismissal
Claimant, of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 28 April 2022; Ref: scu.181195